Loyola University Maryland celebrated the official launch of its School of Education with an inaugural convocation on Oct. 14. After an introduction by Loyola President Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Nancy S. Grasmick, Ph.D., Maryland state superintendent of schools, offered remarks. Peter C. Murrell, Jr., Ph.D., founding dean of Loyola's School of Education, delivered the event's keynote address.
"Our students won't just become 'good teachers' - but will additionally become community teachers," said Murrell, a nationally known expert in the field of urban education who joined Loyola in July 2008 from Northeastern University, where he was an associate professor of education and interim chair of the education department. "Being a community teacher entails being, simultaneously, a knower and a learner. For students in our School of Education, being a community teacher means understanding issues, problems, and opportunities in a connected way."
Grasmick, who expressed gratitude for the contributions Loyola's undergraduate and graduate education programs have long made to the education in Maryland, said, "Loyola stands as a real beacon in terms of our commitment to higher quality education... if we don't have high-quality teachers, how can we hope to have higher expectations for students?"
Loyola's School of Education is the only one in the state with a dedicated focus on the advancement of achievement and development of city children and youth that is based on an analytical framework of identity, race, social capital, and culture. Education students at Loyola, both undergraduate and graduate, will prepare to face the challenges and opportunities inherent in urban classrooms by engaging in deep analysis of popular culture, its messages and meanings, and how these concepts reproduce inequalities in school policies and practices. Other parts of the curricula will focus on deeper understanding of human development in the cultural, familial, and social contexts of contemporary society, as well as scholarly examination of how social capital, social achievement, academic merit and race affect the schooling experience, especially for children from ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse groups.
"Our investment in this community is not just in producing a corps of community teachers, but also in creating school settings containing the cultural practices, social systems, and pragmatic strategies essential to improving the lives of children and families in Baltimore and beyond," said Murrell. "We need systems that work as badly as we need committed, caring, community teachers."
Sister Delia Downing, SSND, president of Sisters Academy of Baltimore, offered the convocation's invocation.
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